We got there in enough time to grab a coffee before we made our way to the waiting room to do some GRADE A WAITING.
For some reason they always have a TV tuned to a programme which features somebody you'll never meet buying (or selling) a house (or an antique) that you will never visit (or see). If you're really unlucky it's a mawkishly sensationalist programme about somebody you'll never meet having some kind of 999 Emergency.
The neurologist was obviously running behind because the nurse asked me if I wanted to see the physio straight away. I didn't have anything in particular that I needed to say to her but it beat the heck out of sitting in the waiting room.
We had a quick chat about my intermittent adventures with walking and swimming and the benefits thereof, before she had a quick look at the stick which she had given me last time. She thought it looked a bit worn and rickety so she toddled off to get me a new one. Very nice!
Then it all started to go a bit wrong.
The main thing I get from these sessions is a talk with one of the neurologists - to talk about treatments, future developments, and to check that the drugs I'm on are the right ones.
But the door we entered was marked Registrar. Now, this is probably a very high pressured position, requiring a dizzying amount of training, education and commitment. I'm not belittling it and I certainly couldn't do the job.
However, this particular guy took TWO mobile phone calls in the five minutes I was with him - at one point he sent a text message while I was answering one of his (borderline incoherent) questions.
Me and Mrs. D just goggled at each other. During the 2nd phone call, she walked out to find a nurse in order to make sure we could talk to someone else as soon as possible.
When he got off the phone (2nd call) I asked him to turn it off but there was no point as he was rapidly winding up our chat.
The NHS is a wonderful (if woefully under-resourced) thing. And the team was obviously under-staffed on that particular day.
But this is the ONLY chance I get to talk to a member of the team from one year to the next.
Obviously I can call the (fantastic) MS Nurse team anytime, but often then I'll be in the middle of a suspected relapse. Advances in research and / or the latest medical interventions are not at the top of my chit-chat list.
We eventually had a really good talk with the head neurologist. In summary:
- Rebif is still one of the first-line treatments they prescribe and as I'm tolerating it well (and because it has been two years since my last relapse with no new symptoms of note), there's no real need to monkey about with my treatments. Most of the newer treatments are designed for people with much more advanced symptoms.
- If my Disco Legs continue to plague me, I could stand to increase the Gabapentin dosage (I currently only take 300mg a night).
- We had a good chat about Vitamin supplements (basic advice: FILL YR BOOTS WITH VITAMIN D)
- Also my most recent blood tests (if there are no family members reading this, I'm a little bit anemic - if I'm related to you, EVERYTHING IS FINE)
If we'd have left after seeing the Registrar, we'd be thinking what was the point?